Serious question: what damage are you referring to here?
Tobi Lehman

Sure. I tried to keep this keep this piece as policy-free as possible, since that wasn’t really the focus… but a few key examples from diverse areas of his presidency:

  1. Middle East - Whether it’s Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya or Iraq, this president has overlearned the lessons of our misadventures in the Second Gulf War. The result has been a tepid approach lacking in coherent strategy to stabilize key states and combat transnational Sunni militant groups. The country is worse off for his lack of commitment to solving the problem, and we’re only going to have to deal with a heavily metastasized problem down the road.
  2. Healthcare - Managed to reduce the rolls of the uninsured, mostly through Medicaid expansion, but we have really yet to see the costs due to the bill’s structure. Moreover, he did almost nothing to reform healthcare’s primary cost drivers. He was so enamored with his enormous Congressional majorities he believed he could pass the bill without any Republican support, and made 0 effort to get their input on the bill (on tort reform, insurance competition, etc.). Destroyed any semblance of bipartisanship and was in part responsible for the subsequent Tea Party backlash.
  3. Law enforcement - On multiple occasions has stepped into local crime stories involving race, and it’s blown up in his face. The “beer summit” incident, and both the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown shootings were situations where he entered the fray without a complete set of facts and erred in judgement. That’s not to say law enforcement acted completely appropriately in those situations, and there are other cases where law enforcement clearly acted criminally, but Obama’s entry into those situations and unwillingness to back law enforcement when his job should be to defuse tense situations has contributed the national crisis in citizen-police relations.

I’d throw immigration into the mix as well. I could add areas like finance reform, domestic surveillance, national debt, etc. where I believe Clinton won’t change course at all, but neither would my candidate. Therefore I have no grounds for criticism.

Obviously, these are my opinions, and someone with a more non-interventionist approach on foreign policy, and more progressive perspective on the domestic front may disagree. Fortunately, I think Clinton is least likely to continue Obama’s path on foreign policy, which is where I see the most damage done. There were many indications she and Bob Gates at times tried to pull the president in different directions than what his political advisers told him. Unfortunately he followed the spinsters, not the experts.

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